Mourners to hold ‘community healing’ Mass after Arizona shooting

January 11th, 2011 by Staff

Tucson, Arizona (CNN) – Mourners will gather at a memorial Mass Tuesday for victims of the weekend shooting outside an Arizona supermarket that killed 6 people and wounded 14 others.
The Mass will be held at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) at St. Odiilia Church in Tucson, Arizona — where 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green had her First Communion a year ago.
“Right now it is important as a community to pull together and to reach out in care and concern to all who have been affected by this tragedy,” Bishop Gerald Kicanas wrote Monday in a letter to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, appeared in a Phoenix courtroom Monday to formally hear the charges against him — including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempting to kill a member of Congress.
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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, critically injured in the shooting after a gunman’s bullet went through her brain, was in stable condition Monday, doctors said. And authorities’ investigation was “winding down,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.
Randy Loughner, the suspect’s father, asked a neighbor to tell reporters camped outside the family’s Tucson home Monday that he would eventually make a public statement.
“Right now he can’t talk. He can’t get out three words without crying,” neighbor Wayne Smith told CNN affiliate KGUN.
Smith said the family had called him Monday and asked for help bringing in the mail at their home. Smith said Randy and Amy Loughner were devastated, but did not know why their son allegedly shot 20 people Saturday.
“They have no idea,” Smith told CNN affiliate KVOA. “They’re as blind on it as we are.”
But details were still emerging from those who survived the deadly attack, those who lost loved ones in the shooting and those who knew the alleged gunman.
Former classmate Don Coorough said Loughner’s demeanor immediately struck him the first time they met.
“He would use inappropriate emotional reactions. He would laugh at things that were sad. He just didn’t seem to be aware of what was going on,” Coorough told CNN.
Former classmate Steven Cates remembered Loughner frequently grinning and clenching his fists — an expression that he said was similar to the mug shot photograph released by authorities Monday.
“That same look was the look that made people in class uncomfortable,” he said.
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Dr. Steven Rayle, who was at the political meet-and-greet Saturday when gunfire broke out, said he caught a glimpse of the gunman’s face.
“He seemed very determined,” he said.
Court documents released Sunday show that investigators found a letter from Giffords in a safe at the house where Loughner lived with his parents, thanking him for attending a 2007 event, similar to Saturday’s meet-and-greet.
“Also recovered in the safe was an envelope with handwriting on the envelope stating ‘I planned ahead,’ and ‘my assassination’ and the name ‘Giffords,’ along with what appears to be Loughner’s signature,” the affidavit states.
A law enforcement official said Loughner asked Giffords a question at the 2007 event and was unhappy with her response.
“He never let it go,” the source said. “It kept festering.”
Hours after Saturday’s attack, Dupnik suggested that “vitriolic rhetoric” in political debates could have deadly consequences.
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. Unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital,” he said. “We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
His comments have fueled debate among politicians, calls for toning down rhetoric and concern about lawmakers’ safety.
Longtime Giffords adviser Mike McNulty has faulted Giffords’ opponents in last year’s elections for stirring up emotions in the campaign to an unacceptable level.
“She is not just a centrist; she is the center. She is the fulcrum of American politics. She is what people fear there is no more of. People are fleeing the left and the right, and Gabby Giffords stands staunchly in the center. And here we have somebody who put a bullet in her brain. The center is in trouble,” he told CNN’s John King on Monday.
But John Green, the father of Christina Green — the youngest victim of Saturday’s attack — said the shooting had nothing to do with politics.
“I think it’s a random act of violence. I think some of it is media-driven, because people have begun to learn they can solve their problems and make a big splash,” he said. “I don’t want to politicize this thing. I want to remember our daughter. I want the country to remember our daughter.”
His wife, Roxanna Green, said she wanted people to know that her daughter was brave and intelligent, and hoped others would follow her example.
“I hope people will look for hope, for change, for peace. That’s what Christina would want. She wouldn’t want us to be sad. She would just be like, ‘Let’s do something. Let’s make this never ever happen again, so no one else has to get hurt,’” she said.

One Response

  1. ~Chris

    John, we will remember your daughter and her life will bring healing to this nation.
    Roxanna, her life will be a legacy of peace within our midst.
    My deepest sympothy to you both.

    Psalm 126:5
    Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
    Rachel’s Tears – Rachel’s Joy

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